Men’s basketball rallies to defeat Detroit-Mercy in packed O’rena


Maggie Willard

Jamal Cain finishes off a dunk against Detroit-Mercy on Feb. 13.

The Oakland University men’s basketball team defeated arch-rival Detroit Mercy 75-59 Sunday afternoon in front of a packed house at the O’rena.

It was a rough first four and a half minutes for the Golden Grizzlies. They had trouble getting shots to fall and they struggled guarding the perimeter. 

Detroit Mercy hit three 3-pointers before the first media timeout, with D.J. Harvey leading the way with eight quick points. The Titans led 11-3 early. 

This trend would continue into the second media timeout. Detroit was having their way early on as they led 16-5. 

From here, Oakland would start to play with a bit more energy offensively. Jamal Cain was getting more involved, getting to the glass more often.

However, Detroit’s hot 3-point shooting continued. That’s ultimately what separated the two teams in the first half. 

The Golden Grizzlies slowly but surely clawed their way back into this game. They toughened up on defense and started getting to the free throw line on offense.

Detroit clung to a 32-30 lead at the half. Cain led Oakland with 14 points, while Micah Parrish added 11 and Jalen Moore had five. 

The Titans shot 47.8%, including 8-17 from 3-point land in the first half. Oakland shot just 32.1% including 2-10 from behind the line, but they shot 10-12 from the free throw line, which kept the game close. 

Detroit continued to shoot well from beyond the arc, hitting a triple on three straight possessions. But Oakland kept up the energy on both sides of the court.

Blake Lampman would give Oakland their first lead on a transition dunk. After some back-and-forth action, the Golden Grizzlies would turn up the intensity on defense, forcing several turnovers. 

After the under-12 timeout, Oakland would open up a 10-point lead. They started dominating on the glass and getting out in transition. 

It helped that the Titans finally cooled off from the field. They shot just 24.2% in the second half, including 22.7% from behind the 3-point line.

Oakland dominated the rest of the game. They would take this one to move to 11-4 in Horizon League play.

Cain finished with a career-high 32 points and 12 rebounds. Moore finished with 13 points and 11 assists. 

The players were happy to be playing in front of a raucous crowd. Cain even went as far as to say he felt like he was back at Marquette.

“I felt like I was in the Big East again,” Cain said. “Just the environment, how loud they were, and how engaged they were. I just want to tip my hat to the fans, they did a great job of just feeding us energy.”

Moore said the fans never stopped believing in them even when they were down big early.

“We went off to a slow start and they didn’t disappear,” Moore said. “They kept their faith in us and they believed in us and we appreciate everybody for coming out.”

Micah Parrish said the environment reminded him of his high school days.

“I appreciate all our fans,” Parrish said. “It was really nice, I really enjoyed it.”

Regarding the slow start, Head Coach Greg Kampe attributed that to the game plan.

“Sometimes in this world when you’ve done something as long as I have, your ego gets in the way sometimes,” Kampe said. “I wanted to have some great game plan for Detroit. And the truth of the matter is we only had one day [to prepare]. And I still put that in — and it backfired…our game plan sucked. They came out and dissected our zone.”

Kampe credits his players for fighting through the adversity.

“I did a terrible job tonight,” Kampe said. “But those guys, they believed and they fought through it. And then we just went back to being who we are. We were back home, and we’re really good in this building and for the last 30 minutes, we were really good.”

The Golden Grizzlies will return to the blacktop to take on Wright State on Friday, Feb. 18 at 9 p.m.